But there was a neat symmetry in his return to Mercedes. The sight of Schumacher in a Silver Arrows brought back memories of him racing their glorious Group C machines in the early nineties.
Schumacher originally intended to make his comeback with Ferrari in 2009 after Felipe Massa was injured at the Hungaroring. He tested for the team but was thwarted by a neck injury suffered in a motorbike race.
However his desire to resume racing had been fired up and his return with Mercedes was duly announced later in 2009. He began his preparations by testing a GP2 car to get used to the current generation of Bridgestone tyres.
His W01 sprouted an unusual twin airbox from the midpoint of the season but it failed to lift the car to the front of the field. And there was that notorious run-in with Rubens Barrichello at the Hungaroring.
In 2011 he went wheel-to-wheel with Nico Rosberg in Monaco, showed his mettle at Monza and came close to that elusive podium finish in Canada.
Schumacher finally returned to the F1 podium at Valencia in 2012. But that was the peak of an often frustrating season and in Suzuka he finally announced his retirement. Seventh place in his final race in Brazil means his career tally stops at 1,566 points.
More Michael Schumacher galleries
Here are some more pictures from Schumacher’s time in F1, including his more successful ‘first career’:
- F1 2006 Review: Michael Schumacher’s F1 career in pictures
- Schumacher tests for Ferrari at Mugello
- Pictures: Schumacher starts GP2 test
- Schumacher and Rosberg meet Mercedes fans in Malaysia (pictures)
- Mercedes mark Schumacher’s 300th Grand Prix
- Schumacher says farewell to Formula One
2012 F1 season review
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2012 season review
- What F1 Fanatics thought of 2012: The year in polls
- The drivers and cars of 2012
- F1 Fanatic’s 50 article highlights of 2012
- 11 different Driver of the Weekend winners in 2012
Browse all 2012 F1 season review articles
Images © Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Daimler, Cosworth, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, GP2 Media Service